There is no shortage of brilliant minds the world over and what often lacks is an avenue for them to channel their ideas and bring them to fruition. There is also no shortage of problems unique to each region, that can be solved using locally engineered technology. So far most of the biggest movers and shakers in the tech scene have simply seen a need, worked towards solving it, and they have often required help from other operators in the tech world especially when starting out. Help often in terms of grants as well as mentorship from global experts.
One such avenue that nudges students to realize their vision is Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, a global competition where students submit their ideas for a chance to make it to the very top. The annual competition which is now in its 18th edition saw thousands of students across the world submitting innovations to impact their communities, both locally and globally. The competition advanced through hackathons, online semi-finals, and virtual regional final events, bringing together finalists via Microsoft Teams.
This year, the regional winners who were selected to move forward to the World Championship are Michael Mwaisakenyi and Kenneth Gichira from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. With this win, they’ll be able to present their projects to compete for the 2020 trophy on the biggest stage yet – the Microsoft Build digital event.
This winning team who go by the name The Knights created an automated robot using artificial intelligence to identify and remove weeds from rows of crops. Their solution uses cameras as sensors to gather input from the environment and eliminate farmers’ need to use environmentally harmful pesticides in their weeding. As part of winning the regional finals, the team won 8000 USD each. Prizes also included Azure credits and a spot in the Imagine Cup World Championship event.
Imagine Cup participants are required to build an original technology based concept, build it and submit. It could be in health, agriculture, energy or manufacturing for example. Dream it, make a plan, build it and submit. An initiative like this solves more problems than one. It gives students a chance to works towards transforming societies and it also pushes them to habitually put their best foot forward. So even those who do not make it to the top are still left with the benefits of the culture of hard work, team building and competitive drive. Still very beneficial in life if you ask me.
Read about the other finalists here.